“Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth.”
Revelation 5:6 NLT
A slaughtered lamb. A gruesome thought for us more squeamish Westerners but something of great spiritual significance. The sacrifice of lambs was a special event in the life of the Jews. When the Israelite nation was enslaved in Egypt, the time came for them, under Moses’ leadership, to leave for their promised land. And we read in Exodus 12:21, “Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal.” The blood of the lamb was then to be brushed onto the door posts of their homes to protect them from the “death angel” (Exodus 12:23) who was about to execute judgement on Pharaoh and his countrymen. The Passover event was so significant that it has been celebrated by the Jews ever since.
What was so significant about the shedding of animal blood? The book of Hebrews offers much explanation about the whys’ and wherefores’ of animal sacrifice and we read in Hebrews 9:22, “In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Animal sacrifice was a symbolic act necessary to seal the old covenant between God and man.
In John 1:29, John the Baptist declared prophetically that Jesus was the sacrificial lamb. We read, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” The old covenant was about to be replaced by the new covenant; Jesus was soon to become the sacrificial lamb. His blood, three years later, would be shed for the redemption of mankind’s sins. A once for all time sacrifice through which we can find forgiveness for our sins and be made righteous before God.
But back to our verse in Revelation. John saw the culmination of the sacrifice at Calvary. He saw the Lamb of God, once sacrificed but now alive. Once reviled and despised, but now the only One who was found to be worthy enough to take the scroll, open it, and read what it said. And He was standing before the throne of God, at the centre of the scene in Heaven. This was, and is, an awesome event, probably one of the most significant that will ever take place.
Dear Lord. Once again, as pilgrims with feet firmly established on Planet Earth, we remember that one day we will be with You in Heaven. We thank You for Your sacrifice and Calvary, because without it we wouldn’t be who we are, sons and daughters of the living God. Our gratitude knows no bounds. Amen.